Friday, August 26, 2011

The Neighbors' Flowers Revisited

Last century, when I was married to someone else entirely, my then-mother-in-law visited from The Old Country. One day I came home from work to find a large, lovely and huge boquest on our dining room table.
"Where did you get these?" I asked, "They're great!"
"Oh, I went for a walk," she said, "They were all over."

By "all over" she meant "in the yards of other people". I never figured out whether she genuinely did not realize this or just didn't care.
Today, I was reminded of this event when I saw someone in the parking-strip garden of our neighbor's. An elderly woman and a tiny girl were picking flowers. These aren't just a few extra blossoms on the profligate butterfly bush, but a significant fraction of the blooms on flowers that had been individually planted.  I immediately challenged them and they hurried off. "Sorry, sorry" the lady said, but I didn't want to let it go at that. Her behavior didn't look like an honest error, and it was hazardous to boom; some people would react very badly to having a stranger take things from their yards, so it's not a good idea to have children involved. It looked from her guilty departure that her main mistake was that she did not plan on being caught. However, when I repeated to her something like she can't be doing this, it's bad, she replied, "I am Catholic".
The sheer incongruity of that reply stopped me as much as her having lumbered away. She clearly knew she had done something wrong, and I don't think we'd be seeing her again, so that was not an issue. I do wonder whether she was flustered or, more likely, was trying to justify herself as a good person by pointing out that, after all, she had a religion.
It can be difficult to know what to do in a case like this; obviously the thieves had to be sent packing, but perhaps a gentler verbal approach would have been just as effective. I reacted rather quickly and while I'm sure the outcome would have been the same in any case, I suppose there was a distant possibility that they were picking flowers with authorization.
Strange it was, however, to see the same thing happen after all these years!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

0N0W: My New Country Is Founded!

What is the minimum seastead required to assert sovereignty?

I hereby declare that I have seasteaded Latitude 0 Longitude 0, and name it 0N0W (pronounced "Oh No!" - the "W" is silent!). I do not intend my seastead to have a permanent population but, then again, neither does the Vatican City. And I seriously doubt any of the new seasteads will have residents who don't leave on a regular basis. If Mitt Romney can declare his residence to be his child's unfinished basement, there really is no minimum residence standard anymore.
A PO Box suffices to establish residents for corporations in the Cormoros and so forth, so it should suffice for a seastead. I declare PO boxes at 0N0W are available (for a small fee perhaps ... get in early!)
Some may doubt the physical existence of such PO Boxes. I could challenge you to go there and disprove them, but the truth is this: the PO Boxes are virtual, accepting email only. There is no minimum size for a nation-state and therefore a nation state of size zero suffices. Nothing in the classical law of nations addresses email or the physical location of servers.
The first act of 0N0W will be to lay claim to everything within the customary zone of control (3 - 12 miles, I forget which), and economic control within the customer exclusive economic zone of about 200 miles. Leases are available!

I may have overlooked a few details, and would appreciate learning what I need to do to finish founding my very own nation-state. If Seattle parking rates go up I'd like to have diplomatic immunity.